There’s just no pleasing some people – even when it comes to donating money to charity for cancer research…
The announcement came today that the beautiful new soccer stadium sitting at the Village West would be henceforth known as LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. That’s right, instead of cashing a hefty check and slapping a for-profit corporate logo on the side, Sporting KC brass decided to hype Lance Armstrong‘s charitable, cancer-fighting organization.
And get this, not only does LIVESTRONG not pay Sporting KC a dime, but a portion of ALL STADIUM REVENUES will help fund the nonprofit effort to fight cancer.
Wow. Um, why?…
I mean, forgive me for being a cynic, but what’s in it for SKC? I know, I know, it’s a grand gesture intended to help those who are extremely ill in their battles against a horrible disease. I get that. But still, are we to believe that the corporate pros who run SKC (and Cerner, hmmm…) did this out of the pure-as-the-driven-snow kindness of their hearts? That’s what I’d like to believe, however stupid I feel for doing so.
"Okay, how about the tax incentives?" some have asked. That could be a big ‘ol chunk of change in charitable donation write-offs. Yes, but does that move the bottom line more than taking Sprint‘s huge novelty check to the bank? And keeping all the "stadium revenues" for themselves? I don’t know. Plus, don’t you think other pro teams would’ve already tried this tactic if it were merely a tax scam?
"Maybe there was just no big money interest from a legit, for-profit stadium sponsor," some have queried.
I mean, have you seen how badass the stadium looks? And it’s still just bones right now. Plus, season ticket sales are probably over 10,000 at this point, multiple games are scheduled to be broadcast on national TV, and the US Men’s National Team will be there in June. I’m saying there were plenty of potential takers.
In my opinion, the most likely reason Rob Heineman and his boys went the unconventional route has to do with their other company, Cerner. If you don’t know, Cerner is a huge, publically traded company that sells health care related technology and systems to hospitals and other medical organizations. Like, maybe some of the medical organizations that LIVESTRONG donates to. Since its inception, LIVESTRONG has raised over $325 million, donating over $31 million in 2009.
And Heineman has made clear that he doesn’t want to just be known as the owner of some mediocre pro soccer team. No, his vision is much broader.
Remember, this is the guy who worked Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing, into the new Sporting KC logo.
Seems like a lot of thought for a logo, huh?
Via Twitter about an hour ago, Heineman had this to say:
@livestrongceo @lancearmstrong Thanks ! You have our pledge that we’ll work like crazy so @LivestrongPark makes an impact.
Regardless of what your theory is about the motives of SKC in this creative partnership, you can count on the fact that this isn’t just a pub grab. No, this is strategic and long term. Not only for SKC, but for Cerner as well. Remember, not long ago there was talk of another huge Cerner office building going in somewhere in Village West. Perhaps a cancer center? A LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Cerner Center for the Eradication of Cancer perhaps? Complete with a state of the art venue to hold conferences where the leading cancer researchers come in and get to play around with the newest technology for fighting the disease? And big benefit shows? You bet.
That almost sounds like it could work.